Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Manara, Milo

(1945-    ) Italian Comic-strip artist, with a strong, realistic and economical line style. His work includes a series of political allegories, graphic-narrative examinations of and improvisations on historic events, and fantasy and sf stories, all with a strong erotic content. MM's drawing is interesting for its impressive realism and simplicity, in a style strongly influenced by the pen-line work of Moebius.

MM worked as an assistant to the Spanish sculptor Berrocal before studying architecture. Inspired by the politics of such comics as Jean-Claude Forest's Barbarella and Pierre Barier's and Guy Peellaert's Les Aventures de Jodelle (graph 1966 France), he began drawing soft-porn strips, including the masked secret agent Genius (graph 1969) and the female pirate Jolanda de Almaviva (graph 1969). In partnership with Silverio Pisu he created the satirical monthly Telerompo. In 1974 he began producing historical strips for the weekly Corriere dei Ragazzi ["Children's Courier"] in the two series Il Fumetto della Realta and La Parola ai Giurati. In 1977 he created the "easy rider" strip Chris Lean, which featured a version of the actor James Dean (1931-1955).

In 1976, for the experimental strip monthly Alterlinus, MM drew the Chinese mythical stories of The Monkey King (> Monkey) under the title Lo Scimmiotto (trans as The Ape in Heavy Metal 1982-1983; graph coll 1988 US), based on a script by Pisu, and the following year he adapted Joseph Roth's Die Fluchte Ohne Ende (1927) as Alessio, il Borghese Rivoluzionario ["Alessio, the Revolutionary Bourgeois"] (graph 1977). He did two historical volumes for Larousse and one for Mondadori, plus a volume in the landmark series Un Uomo un'Avventura ["A Man, an Adventure"], L'Uomo delle Nevi (graph 1978; trans as The Snow Man 1982 US). There followed L'Uomo di Carta (1981 Pilote; trans as The Paper Man 1986 US) and Tutto Ricommincio con un'Estate Indiana (1983 Corto Maltese Magazine; trans as Indian Summer 1987 US).

MM then began work on a series of complicated, surreal political allegories, Le Avventure di Giuseppe Bergman, which examines the predicament of the adventurer-outsider (in the sense that the term is used by Colin Wilson in The Outsider [1956]). In these sometimes chaotic stories he acknowledges an inspirational debt to Hugo Pratt ("H.P.") (1927-1995). Through the Dream-like adventures of the ingénue Bergman (MM himself), he explores the role of the artist-adventurer who, in remaining outside the normal routine of capitalist society, acts as a revolutionary against the alienating and dehumanizing influence that society imposes. Four vols have been published in English: HP and Giuseppe Bergman (trans graph 1988 US), An Author in Search of Six Characters (trans graph 1989 US), Dies Irae (trans graph 1992) and Perchance to Dream (trans graph 1992 US).

A similar quality pervades Gita al Tulum (trans as Trip to Tulum 1994 US), which was scripted by Federico Fellini (1920-1993). MM's Science-Fiction erotica includes Il Gioco ["The Game"] (1983; trans as Click! 1992 US), Il Gioco II (1992; trans as Click 2 1994 US), Il Profumo del'Invisibile ["The Scent of the Invisible"] (1987; trans as Butterscotch: The Flavor of the Invisible 1993 US), Hidden Camera (trans graph 1993 US) and Nuove Civette ["New Flirtations"] (1989; trans as Shorts 1994 US).

Other books in English include The Art of Spanking (graph 1994 US) and The Art of Manara (graph 1994 US). MM won the Yellow Kid Award at the Lucca Comics Festival in 1978. [RT]

Milo Manara

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.